The London Grill: Andy Wilkes

We challenge our contributor to reply to ten devilishly probing questions about their London and we don’t take “Sorry Gov” for an answer. Everyone sitting in the hot seat will face the same questions that range from their favourite way to spend a day out in the capital to their most hated building on London’s skyline to find out just what Londoners really think about their city. The questions might be the same but the answers vary wildly.


[A]ndy Wilkes is a 45 year old father of five who has lived and worked all over London most of his life, and discovering late in life that he has a passion for photography. In 2008 when he began working inside the site of the London 2012 Olympic Games he started a photo blog documenting works that were progressing on the site, the only other people releasing pictures from inside the site were LOCOG/ODA/LONDON 2012 themselves, and the perspective was a unique one, continuing through to games time, he is continuing to document the Legacy of the Olympic Park and its impact on London.

What’s your secret London tip?
If you need to travel across Central London and it’s only a few tube stops, then walk it. London is so crammed full of hidden and interesting places you are bound to stumble upon something, be it a hidden green space, a lesser known alley or a plaque or memorial.

What’s your secret London place?
Island Gardens, on the southern tip of the Isle of Dogs. Lovely during the summer months to sit and relax and watch the Thames go by, all with a backdrop of historic Greenwich to enjoy it by.

What’s your biggest gripe about London?
That fellow Londoners do not engage each other enough in random situations. This changed a bit during the Games and I’ve never spoken to as many strangers as I did during the duration of the games, although it may have been that most of them were visitors to our City.

What’s your favourite building?
The SIS Building, also commonly known as the MI6 Building, on the Albert Embankment in the south western part of central London, on the bank of the River Thames beside Vauxhall Bridge. I like the design and colours and the irony that it’s probably one of London’s most secret buildings yet sticks out like a sore thumb.

What’s your most hated building?
The Emirates Stadium. Built on a rubbish processing plant, looks like a toilet bowl. Built too far away from their ‘home’ in Woolwich.

What’s the best view in London?
The top of the ArcelorMittal Orbit Viewing tower in the Olympic Park ( QE II Park) offers outstanding views East to West including Canary Wharf, The Thames, The City, and a panorama of almost every Iconic structure on London’s skyline.

What’s your personal London landmark?
Walthamstow Dog Track. Now sadly closed but was a major part of my life growing up around that area, not that I ever won betting huge amounts, usually a 50p each way on each of the races, but the social element and the atmosphere made it what it was. I always used to take friends from out of town there.

What’s London’s best film, book or documentary?
‘48, by James Herbert; An alternate London History Horror book set in an almost dystopian London at the end of the Second World War.

What’s your favourite bar, pub or restaurant?
Usually the last Bar or Pub I’ve visited, apart from the massive ‘chain’ pubs which I tend to avoid, I’ve always enjoyed walking into pubs I don’t know just to sample the atmosphere.

How would you spend your ideal day off in London?
Lazily walking from West to East, with a map in hand trying to take the most illogical route I could whilst trying to see as much of London’s underbelly as I could.

This ‘Grill’ was first posted on the Radio Taxis blog.

What do you have to say for yourself?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s